Still a long way to go in Afghanistan: Turkish PM
ANTALYA, Turkey (Pajhwok): Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Wednesday said Afghanistan needed the presence of international community beyond 2016, when all US and NATO troops are scheduled to leave the war-torn country.
In his opening remarks at the first day of a two-day NATO foreign ministerial meeting in this southern city, the Turkish prime minister said the international community needed to consolidate achievements made in Afghanistan over the past 13 years and continue helping the Afghan authorities implement reforms.
The session, attended by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and foreign ministers from 42 NATO and allied nations, was to discuss the alliance’s Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan and the crisis in Ukraine, the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq and the turmoil in Libya.
Afghan Foreign Minister Slalahuddin Rabbani is attending the meeting at the head of a delegation. He will brief the participants on the latest situation in Afghanistan.
The Turkish prime minister said they were ready for a long-term cooperation with Afghanistan, where he said “is still a long way to go in order to attain the capacity to cope with the evolving security challenges.”
He said the achievements in Afghanistan were still fragile and needed NATO’s and the wider international community’s presence, if necessary, beyond 2016.
Davutoglu said that Turkey will support Afghanistan, both bilaterally and through NATO, as long as it is necessary and so long as the Afghan people require.
"With this understanding we have assumed responsibility for Kabul International Airport in addition to and in line with our Resolute Support Mission framework responsibility in the Kabul area," said Davutoglu.
Resolute Support is a NATO-led, non-combat mission. It was launched on January 1, following the conclusion of the previous NATO-led ISAF mission.
Davutoglu added that Turkey will also contribute $60 million to the Afghan army over the 2015-2017 periods. Ending his speech, Davutoglu said Turkey was ready to host the heads of NATO member states in 2018.
In his opening remarks, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg Stoltenberg said: "Let us not be under any illusions. Afghanistan remains a dangerous place. We will continue to stand with Afghanistan and the people of Afghanistan in the future."
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